October 14, 2019 Subject:
Parish Register of Durness, by Hew Morrison
Hew Morrison transcribes 50 years of baptism and marriage entries recorded by Rev. John Thomson in Durness, Scotland from late 1764 to the end of 1814. Although nominally a parochial register of baptisms and marriages, Rev. Thomson also characterizes the social and moral condition of each individual. For example, when a married man fathers a child out of wedlock a second time with a woman who is not his wife, he is labeled "a repeat offender." Rev. Thomson's frequent use of patronymics, sometimes reaching back three generations, usefully disambiguates the many individuals with the same common forename and surname. The comprehensiveness of this 50 year window into a single community has allowed genealogists to post public indexes that group families together. When Rev. Thomson hands responsibility for recording the baptisms and marriages to his son in law, who will be his successor as parish minister, in the last few years of the register, the additional social and moral observations soon disappear. This has the effect of simplifying the data while eliminating a qualitative perspective on the life of the community. For a genealogist researching ancestors during tese 50 years in a single community, this volume is a gem.